The activity I chose to discuss censorship was reviewing an electronic resource called Answering Questions about Youth and Access to Library Resources, written by the American Library Association (2017). First, I researched how to write a review and decided to follow the guidelines from a resource by Trent University (n.d.). Second, I developed my review, Appendix 1, by summarising the purpose of the resource, describing how the form meets the needs of the intended audience, identifying three elements that stood out to me, and recommending one area of improvement. Third, I referred to my notes from modules five and six to evaluate how well the resource explains children and young adults’ information-seeking behaviours and suggests solutions to challenges in delivering library services for children and young adult. Finally, I edited my review before posting it to my blog.
Before reviewing this resource, I knew that censorship was restricted access to information “enforced by a variety of bodies – including individuals, organization, and environment” (Manuell, 2020). Initially, I thought of censorship from the role of the information professional, such as a librarian, by making sure to not only acquire resources from mainstream publishers. By increasing the sources from which I would acquire resources, I can increase the diversity of topics and perspectives in the collection and vary the formats of resources collected to make users feel represented. While this resource did not explicitly define censorship, it discussed the elements of my definition of censorship and provided a pre-emptive solution for information professionals to respond to concerned individuals. Subsequently, this resource helped me to realise that, on the individual level, parents can be another source of censorship besides information professionals. After reading the suggested answers to parents’ frequently asked questions, I imagined how I would react in this situation. For me, it would be most significant to emphasise parental involvement in their child’s library experience to shape their choice of resources. This resource acknowledged my initial thoughts as correct. Equally, it emphasised that children and young adults have agency in their information-seeking behaviours to explain to a concerned parent the selection of a resource.
Therefore, I plan to fill this gap in my future career by adapting my knowledge of this resource to my library and expanding the responses as I implement new services. For example, I could work in a public library that provides reference service hours, makerspaces, or library spaces specifically geared towards children and young adults. If a parent asked me why these services are necessary, I would respond by providing recommendations to the parents of how they can be involved while explaining how the service meets the needs of children and young adults. I would also check if the library’s website featured any message for parents about censorship. If it did not, I would create the resource and add any questions I frequently receive. Hence, reviewing this resource has helped me to realise that parents are also a community group and their needs are related to other users. By keeping this in mind, I can improve how I promote library services while increasing access to information rather than engaging in censorship.
American Library Association. (2017). Answering questions about youth and access to library resources. http://www.ala.org/tools/challengesupport/youthresourcesFAQ
Manuell, R. (2020). Module 6: Challenges in delivering library services [Study notes]. INF505: Library services for children and young adults. Interact 2. https://interact2.csu.edu.au
Trent University. (n.d.). How to write academic reviews. https://www.trentu.ca/academicskills/how-guides/how-write-university/how-approach-any-assignment/how-write-academic-reviews